Seized drug and suspected counterfeit pharmaceutical testing provides an important source of intelligence information with respect to the novel psychoactive substance (NPS) market, which has recently garnered a large amount of interest within the forensic science community due to the widespread availability and increased availability of products. The CFSRE is a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Schedule I Drug facility that utilizes state-of-the-art instrumentation including high resolution mass spectrometry and traditional techniques that aid in the identification of the botanical material and/or pills and powders.

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Research

The CFSRE currently offers free testing of seized drug packets strictly for the analysis of NPS to Drug Recognition Experts (DREs), enforcement officers, police agencies and other interested parties from across United States. The analysis is for research purposes only but may assist in attaining search warrants or additional evidence seizure. A report with the findings is issued upon completion of the testing. Analysis is free of charge; however, a small amount of sample may be retained for further research.

Benefits

  • Rapid turnaround time with most analyses being completed within two weeks of receipt of the samples.
  • Timely identification of new substances with analytical data provided via NPSDiscovery.org.
  • Ability to monitor trends and changes.

Applications

Working with law enforcement officials and testing seized material, the CFSRE scientists were able to rapidly identify and characterize the product, “Santa Muerte,” which was responsible for multiple deaths and several hundred overdoses in Philadelphia in the summer of 2018 within 24 hours of receipt of the product. The material was found to contain 5-fluoro-ADB, a potent synthetic cannabinoid, heroin and fentanyl. Since 2018, the CFSRE has continued to work and build collaborations with public health officials to test surrendered products with the aim of providing near real time detection of emerging substances.

Resources

The CFSRE is working to develop informative material including training materials and scientific publications to contribute to the scientific community.

Publication/ Presentations

Recent news articles

  • The CFSRE was involved in testing “Santa Muerte” product linked to several overdoses and deaths.